When it comes to automated animal-milking, Israel is considered a world-leader. For decades, Israeli innovators have continuously developed advanced techniques to maintain dairy farms and milking efficiently. It is no surprise then that when a Canadian goat farm needed to enhance productivity – they turned to Israeli technology.
The system for the goat-milking parlor is derived from what Afimilk has been doing with cow-milking. However, Azran is keen to stress that important modifications had to be made to optimize a system for goats.
“It’s a different kind of milk. The raw material is different. And then there’s the amount. If cows give you 10 liters per milking, the goat gives you 1 liter or 1.5. The amount is very small. So to be precise, you need to use specific equipment. You can milk a goat with cow equipment, but your results are not precise. And for us it is very important to get the right information.”
The Israeli Advantage:
The average Israeli cow produces an impressive 12,000 litres of milk a year. By comparison, the average United States dairy cow produces 9,000 litres of milk a year. What accounts for the massive difference? According to Azran, it all boils down to the management of the animals, and that is where Israel’s technology stands out.
So how did Israel’s technological advantage come about? According to Ornit Sade-Benkin, the General Marketing Manager at SCR Dairy, another Israeli herd management specialist, it’s a result of several factors.
Firstly, 60 percent of the country’s cows are located on farms in kibbutzim – Israel’s famous socialist collective communes where inhabitants mutually own means of production and divide among themselves the social and economic responsibilities, Sade-Benkin explains. An example of mutual cooperation is the cooperative ownership and management of “Hachaklait,” a veterinary organization that works closely with the communes. Each farm pays an annual fixed rate per animal and in turn is visited two to three times per week. Each cow receives several routine visits per lactation to ensure she is producing at maximum potential. Such cooperation creates a less competitive environment where knowledge and best practices are shared among farmers.
Secondly, says Sade-Benkin, “Israel is one of the biggest hi-tech centers in the world. The eco system provides a good ground for start-ups and entrepreneurship. Startups like SCR Dairy are able to look at what the farmer needs and provide a suitable solution.”
She adds: “SCR Dairy, for example, moved from being an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for the dairy industry to developing a breakthrough technology it calls FreeFlow. FreeFlow uses infrared technology to measure the quality and quantity of flowing milk. Today, it is the biggest manufacturer of milk meters, and has expanded to produce other equipment used in milking cows.”
“It looks like Israel will continue to be the leader in the field of dairy herd management for some time to come,” Sade-Benkin concludes.
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